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SLMPD rolls out summer safety plan

St. Louis police said officers will take a three-pronged approach to keep downtown safe: an increased presence, technology and traffic control.

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said units have already started patrolling downtown as a part of the Summer Cruising Detail.

“We will not tolerate misbehavior in the downtown area,” said SLMPD Captain Pierre Benoist. “Downtown creates a lot of revenue for the city. People love coming downtown, we have a lot to offer.”

St. Louis police and St. Louis sheriff's deputy patrols will begin rolling at 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. on weekends until the fall. The zone stretches from Cass Avenue to the north, Chouteau Avenue to the south; the Mississippi River to the east and 14th Street to the west.

Benoist said officers will take a three-pronged approach to keep downtown safe: an increased presence, technology and traffic control.

“(Everyone) is welcome downtown but some of this behavior: the erratic driving and altering of vehicles will not be welcomed downtown,” he said.

There will be a heavy emphasis on vehicle-related crimes.

“A lot of the gas station parking lots have people congregating on the weekends,” Benoist said. “We've met with them and asked that they increase their security and awareness of what’s going on. We've really met with a lot of the parking lot owners downtown to secure their lots. To have someone there the entire time there's an event. And when there's not an event, to block it off.”

Police said it’s hard to crack down on these crimes that happen within minutes.

They are working with the Downtown Community Improvement District to relay smart parking techniques as a part of their ParkSmart campaign:

  • Park in places with good lighting
  • Take all valuables with you
  • Lock your vehicle

“If you are coming downtown and the event won't allow you to bring your gun inside, don't bring your gun at all,” Benoist said. “There's opportunists out there waiting for that.”

All too often stolen weapons are used in more serious crimes throughout the region.

SLMPD said they will utilize undercover officers and cameras to help with security.

The Downtown CID is also partnering with former Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson to grow its ambassador program. The goal is to give large groups of teens and young adults alternatives other than lingering downtown in large groups after hours on the weekend.

   

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